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Baseball: Pitching continues struggles as Wildcats swept by Nebraska

Northwestern didn’t do anything to right the ship this weekend against Nebraska on the road.

@NUCatsBaseball on Twitter.

Folks, it’s getting ugly.

Northwestern baseball’s nightmare season continued this weekend. The ‘Cats (5-25, 3-6 B1G) were swept at Nebraska in blowout fashion in all three games. Any momentum they picked up from taking two of three from Illinois last weekend has now been squandered, with the team in the midst of a four-game losing skid. Things simply are not going well.

In Game One, the NU offense picked up right where it left off against UIC on Thursday, scoring runs. The ‘Cats rode a homer from catcher Cooper Foard and a two-run single from Alex Roessner out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning. However, the Wildcats wouldn’t score again for the remainder of the contest, and they wouldn’t lead again in the series.

In the fifth inning, Nebraska first baseman Charlie Fischer hit a bomb to give the Cornhuskers a 5-3 lead. They didn’t look back from there, finishing off Northwestern, 8-3. The ‘Cats only had four hits in the game to Nebraska’s eight and struck out 10 times at the plate. Max Anderson, the Cornhuskers’ second baseman, led the way with three hits, driving in two.

In Game Two, Northwestern posted zeroes in seven of eight defensive innings. Unfortunately, in the second inning, it surrendered nine runs. Starting pitcher Michael Farinelli gave up all nine and fell to a 1-6 record on the season. Evan Minarovic went 2-for-4 for the ‘Cats, but they only had five hits in the entire game and couldn’t string much offense together. The men in purple lost 9-2.

In the finale on Sunday, Northwestern didn’t have anything left in the tank and never had a chance. The Cornhuskers scored in every inning until the eighth and ran away with it, winning 18-5. Outfielder Gabe Swansen had a massive performance for Nebraska, driving in six runners on a 4-for-5 afternoon. Northwestern, on the other hand, benefited from three RBIs off the bat of LF Luke Tanner, but it’s hard to win games when you spot a team nine runs.

Once again, Northwestern’s pitching let it down this weekend. 35 runs allowed in three games — that’s woeful. The ‘Cats’ team ERA is a whopping 9.48, and they’ve allowed 54 homers as a unit. For context, against Northwestern, opposing pitchers have pitched to a 4.65 ERA and only allowed 21 homers.

The ‘Cats are far from an elite offensive team, but the pitching isn’t giving the lineup a chance at all. Those numbers aren’t just bad; they’re embarrassing. With only five wins through 30 games, Northwestern’s season is basically over. But, if it wants to take any positives out of this year, the team is going to need the pitching staff to at least improve somewhat. Just being bad as opposed to terrible would suffice.

Northwestern will limp into its road game against Northern Illinois this week on Tuesday. The ‘Cats will then take on Rutgers (20-16, 4-5 B1G) this weekend in Evanston.